Yesterday I did an interesting experiment. I posted a pen and ink drawing from my latest collection on Facebook and then I posted a picture of an intricately carved avocado. The avocado was 20 times more popular than my drawing.
Now, if I were selling carved avocados this would be great news.
Back in January, artist Noah Bradley left social media – he observed: “And now I’m thinking that maybe I don’t need any of the social networks in my life. Maybe the idea that to promote myself as an artist and have a following I need to be on social networks is wrong. Maybe there’s another way. Maybe I can focus instead on creating more, better work and let things spread as they will. Maybe (just maybe) other people can share my work for me and it’ll spread at least as well.”
I am seriously re-thinking my marketing plan and use of social media.
ADDENDUM: After receiving some “blow-back” from angry people on Facebook after I revealed that this was an experiment on Facebook I wanted to add my reasons for doing this experiment.
Based on my personal observation of Facebook “likes” and trends – my theory was that the general public reacts more favorably to images that do not require any thought or work on the part of the viewer.
And YES I do realize that using Facebook as a resource for social experiments may be upsetting to some people. I apologize to anyone who was offended by this.
My artwork requires much from the viewer. It is intricate, highly detailed and in the case of the Unfinished Illustrations, it requires that the viewer work out what is going on in the drawing. Like Felicity here, she murdered the man in the tub by putting the radio in it and electrocuting him. This would actually take work on the viewers part to ascertain. My theory is that most people would rather be immediately visually gratified by an image than take the time to “work it out”.
Identifying this proclivity of social media users better enables me to market my work to the correct audiences. Based on what I have learned from this, I don’t think using social media for marketing benefits me as an artist.